This is the story of Bob King, a Disc Jockey from way back . It is also an Archive of Music which Hypnotised a Generation & still has an unbelievable following today. It is the most important piece of Small Heaths Social History since the Peaky Blinders.
Northern Soul that's what it became known as in the 70s. When I started listening to this music it was just the music Mods danced to in the 60s . The other stuff I liked was the Rock Steady / Bluebeat that later on took on a heavier beat & become Reggae as we know it today . Birminghams No.1 R&B group..'The Spencer Davis Group were another source of good music close to my heart . Back in the late 60s early 70s the music in the charts was a lot more diverse than it is today . You'd get the general pop stuff , soul , R&B , but you would also get alot of rock stuff & even a bit of country or folk music as well .
Bob King DJ, that's a blast from the past, I was actually christened Robert Baddeley & born just outside of Swansea in South Wales, but everyone knew me as a Brummie. Small Heath in Birmingham, that's where I grew up, that's where I served my apprenticeship in music. Small Heath, 45 years ago was the landing place for immigrants from all parts of the world Asians, West Indians, Chinese, Irish & a little Taffy with a Brummie accent.
Oldknow Road Secondary Modern, my last couple of years at school & the start of my musical journey. Radio 1 had just been born & popular music was at last free for everyone to listen to, but what I heard at school hardly resembled any music played on the radio. When we could get access to a record player the music that we heard was something magical....Prince Buster singing about' Judge Dread', Desmond Decker &' 007', The Rudies with' Brixton Rocket', Little Grants & Eddie & 'Rudys Dead.'....I couldn't get enough of this music. Chart music of the day comprised of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Small Faces, mainly ripped off versions of a lot of American R&B stuff that I was slowly drifting towards. The Stones had a raw quality about them but the stuff I liked had been skinned alive, It was so good, basic, danceable....I just loved it.
Being a DJ was the last thing on my mind back then, I didn't even know what a DJ did.
Tom Simpson, that's who I wanted to be, the greatest British cyclist of his generation. I was a member of the local cycling club & spent every spare minute riding my bike & racing. Infact I've come the full circle because that's what I do now.
Back at home I shared a bedroom with my two big brothers. Now our John he was a bit of a townie, I suppose you'd call him a mod, he rode a scooter, he always had a parker on with the most immaculate suit on , underneath it . He practised posh talk in our tape recorder, went to night clubs & from what he's told me since had a very 'fruitful sex life'! What he did do though was introduce me to another side of music, that has stayed with me all my life, soul, northern soul. He'd play Aretha Franklins 'Say a Little Prayer'[ proper soul], Robert Parker..'Let's Go Baby Where The Action Is'.&..' Barefooting'.....The Four Tops 'Reach Out', The Temptations 'Get Ready...my head was beginning to spin, this was a new phase In my life, an outlet outside of school & sport, this started to reshape my life.
With the final years of school looming I had various part time jobs & started spending most of my money on records. The thing about vinyl 45s is you'd play them, flip them over & bingo 4 times out of 10 you'd the B side would be as good as the A side.'Robert Parkers 'Barefootin' being a good example having ' Let's Go Baby Where The Action Is ' on the B side. This was the beginning for me, Northern Soul as it became known in the 1970s had got me hooked. Even today I disappear into my man cave & relive the brilliant time I've had over the years with my music. I'm lucky really, most people I know got rid of their vinyl when the CD & download formats appeared, I didn't, vinyl has always had a certain everlasting quality about it....you'll pick up a 45 & think 'that was a great tune' you just can't do that with a CD or Download....vinyl just jumps out at you. That can't really be said about any other music format.